The Newbie’s Guide to Working on a Construction Site
Construction is a broad term and the pay varies according to the type of project or skills you have. The downside of construction is it’s cyclical and you may have to work away from home for long periods of time. The upside is that hard workers with a great skillset will always be in demand. For a committed and reliable worker, the key to being constantly employed means making good contacts and developing a good reputation. Here are a few suggestions for anyone beginning a career in the construction industry.
- Be on time and be willing to work hard. Being on time not only impacts your job, but the jobs of others who can’t continue their tasks until you finish yours. Consider coming in 15 minutes early to get a feel for the jobsite and the other workers. This will also make a good impression and show that you are eager and reliable. Make a point of showing up every day and plan on working a full day as indicated by the supervisor. When you excel at your job and get your tasks completed on time, management will be confident that they made the right choice in hiring you.
- Come prepared. Have appropriate work clothes such as steel-toed boots, gloves, a hat and a reflective vest if needed. Dress for the season….keep warm in winter and cool in summer. If it is hot, a long sleeve shirt and lightweight pants or jeans will keep the sun off and prevent sunburn. For Canadian winters, warm clothing is essential when working outside. A layering system is the best solution to stay warm and comfortable. Start with a wicking layer of clothing next to your skin to absorb moisture; the next layer should be a light insulating layer such as light fleece or thin wool. Follow with a heavier insulating layer such as heavier fleece or wool and finish with a windproof/waterproof jacket. Don’t forget to keep your hands, feet and head warm with toques or balaclavas, gloves, mitts and two layers of socks.
- Bring supplies such as water, a lunch or sunscreen. Don’t assume that the employer will provide anything and be prepared to have whatever you think you will need for the day.
- Pay attention and learn everything you can. What you learn on the job may differ from what you already know. Be open to learning different approaches as it may be beneficial in the long run. People won’t expect you to know everything so don’t be afraid to ask questions or wait to get instructions.
- Stay off your cell phone. Construction sites can be dangerous and it is essential to avoid distractions. If you need to check your phone, wait for breaks and lunch time.
- Stay focused. Construction work can be repetitive and you may be doing the same thing for hours or days at a time. Focusing on the same task may be challenging but it is a necessary part of getting a job done.